Potstickers with Quinoa and Shitake Mushroom Filling

I love our cats, I really do.

But like any relationship, we’ve had our ups and mostly downs.

When I first moved in with Roo two summers ago, what I can only describe as “hazing” by Evil Monkey happened for months.

Roo tried to explain Monkey’s bad behavior for “not being used to girl things,” as I sat in that apartment, terrified to move.

It was probably one of the hottest summers in a few years, which forced Roo and I to have the fans on high throughout the apartment.  Some hot afternoons I would try to lie down on the couch to nap; hair carelessly dangling over the side and blowing in the fan, only to have Monkey jump up and attempt to scalp me.  There were also times where I would wake up, from the false comforts of sweet dreams, to find her chewing on my hair.  Wide eyed, mewing and chewing, a few inches from my face.


Summer dresses ruffling in the crosswind from the fans were also open to kitty attacks.  To be immersed in a book, left one open for a Monkey run-by, as she would grab at my dress, trying to claw her way up my legs, only to bound off by my incessant screeching and squirming.

There were times where I told Roo I was going to sit naked in our apartment for safety sake.  To which he replied, “do you really think you’re going to be safer, naked?”

I never sat there naked.

And while Monkey no longer outright terrorizes me in our apartment, she has developed some other quirks.

Her love for toilet paper has forced us to store it in a resealable plastic bag.  She loves to climb up the Christmas tree and knock down ornaments; shredding them up and leaving them in her wake.  Her obsession with bottle caps and aluminum foil make us fear for her own safety and can never be left out, like toilet paper.

Yet we recently discovered she has an even more dangerous habit.

Water glasses.  She loves to push water glasses off of tables.

And when I came home from work today, to find that she knocked over a water glass from the coffee table, shards of broken glass embedded in our crappy carpet, I lost it.

I vacuumed the mess in silence.  Cleaning up all the pine needles, glass and other “bits of Monkey” (clumps of hair, string, and God-knows-what else lives underneath our couches).  And then I locked myself in the living room, a convenience of having french doors with a hook-and-eye at my eye level; something Monkey could never unlatch with her sneaky paws.

I still sit here now, writing up this post about potstickers (or supposed to be about potstickers), eating my dinner and watching Monkey as she watches me from outside the french doors.  Pacing, sitting and watching, pacing again.  Sometimes sticking her paw in the gap, where the doors don’t quite reach the hardwood floors, attempting to pull it open, only to be foiled by the hook-and-eye.

And you know what?  These potstickers are delicious.  Probably more delicious than anything I’ve eaten this week, as we know a victory (albeit a small victory as my nemesis right now is a cat…I know) makes everything taste like happiness.

I had initially made these potstickers for Roo as he was missing the pork-filled gyoza I used to make him before our lifestyle change.  The texture is virtually the same, and I honestly think they even taste better (victory aside).

Thin, crispy dumpling wrappers, envelope a quinoa and shitake mushroom filling, packed with umami.  Avocado is used as the binding ingredient, something I experimented with great success, as I didn’t feel comfortable using a flaxseed-egg in a non-baked good.  It can’t be tasted in the filling, as its outshone by the bright ginger, super savory shitake mushrooms, with just a little bit of bite from the scallions.  The chili dipping sauce is the same I used for my potstickers with lentil and caramelized onion filling, and pairs just as fabulously with these.

I also love that this is a dump-and-mix dish; all the ingredients for the filling are thrown in a bowl, combined, then scooped into empty dumpling wrappers.  The most labor intensive part of this dish is folding the wrappers, which is not hard at all.  All it takes are wet fingers to run along the edge of the wrapper, then folded, and then tossed in the pan to cook.

If anything, don’t wait till you’ve locked yourself in the living room to try these.  They’re just too good.

Adapted from No Recipes


For the potstickers

One and a half cups of cooked quinoa

A heaping half cup of dried shitake mushrooms added to a cup of hot water and set aside to rehydrate, then minced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 scallions, dark and light green parts minced (a scallion with three branches basically)

1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger (be sure not to do more than this as it’ll make the filling bitter)

4 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce

4 teaspoons mirin

2 teaspoons sesame seed oil

1 avocado, mashed with a fork until smooth

Salt to taste (I use a quarter teaspoon of fine sea salt)

1 package of gyoza wrappers

1 to 2 tablespoons of mild tasting olive oil (or any other mild tasting oil) to pan fry the gyoza with

A cup of warm water

For the chili dipping sauce

1 red chili pepper (I used a Mirasol, but whatever you have on hand that’s spicy)

One tablespoon of sugar

Quarter cup of soy sauce

Quarter cup of water

3 scallions, dark and light green parts minced (a scallion with three branches basically)

Sesame oil to taste (it’s pretty potent so my “yum” may be your “blech”)


One medium sized mixing bowl

One very large saute pan

One water glass (to hold warm water in)

Tongs/Chopsticks (whatever you can use to pick up the potstickers with from the pan)

A small bowl (for your chili dipping sauce)

Add a quarter cup of water and a quarter cup of soy sauce to a small bowl.  Cut open the chili pepper with a knife, sprinkle with sugar, and then start chopping.  Smash the sugar into the chili pepper with the knife while cutting it up.  Stop when chili pepper is diced.  Scoop up the chili pepper and sugar and add to the small bowl.  Add the diced scallions.  Stir to combine.  Taste, and add the sesame oil to your liking (start off with a couple drops!).

In a medium sized mixing bowl add all your ingredients and stir till combined.  The mixture should be very wet (like the consistency of ground pork filling for non-vegetarian gyoza/potstickers).  Taste and season with salt if desired.  It should be seasoned well so that it can be eaten on its own.

Place your wrappers on a flat surface.  Add about a teaspoon of filling to the center of each dumpling.  Wet your fingers in the cup of water, and run your fingers along the edge of each wrapper.  Fold the wrapper in half, and press the edges tightly closed.  Keep going with this process until you run out of filling.

Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to a large saute pan.  Place the pan onto a burner over medium high heat.  When the oil starts to shimmer, start laying down your potstickers into the oil, making sure that they don’t touch.  This prevents them from sticking together.  Cook the potstickers until they are golden brown (the side face down in the oil).  Add the one third cup of water, and then cover the pan immediately with a lid.  Cook the dumplings for a couple of minutes, until the water is almost evaporated.  Remove the lid and cook the potsickers until the water is evaporated.  For me, this took about a minute.  Remove the potstickers from the pan. If necessary, repeat with any remaining potstickers.

Serve the potstickers with the dipping sauce.